We’re very homey, these days.

We’ve been feeling very homey and never made it off the front porch yesterday, so we made spritz cookies from the cookie cookbook of my childhood:  Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book, 1963 edition.  Feeling particularly festive, we frosted them with royal icing.

Next, I hope to make either World Peace Cookies, which I have Mariko to thank for bringing these to my attention, or Homemade Oreos or the quickest cookie to make that I know of and that doesn’t require baking, Oreo Rum Balls (no link for this).

We have snow drifts around our house. The only place I’ve ever seen snow drifts around here before is in the mountains. Meanwhile, the two hummingbirds that winter-over actually drew blood over the hummingbird feeder yesterday (I go out and defrost it every few hours); there were little splatters of blood all over the snow underneath it on the front porch. Despite avian drama at the hummingbird feeder, it’s just plain breathtaking around here, and in contrast to the adult in me that says it’s all a hassle, the kid in me is rejoicing over the snow I’d often wished for so that I wouldn’t have to go to school and could go sledding instead.

Snow-covered bush at dawn.

My Japanese sweet-making class for today is canceled (sniff). I canceled the babysitter who was going to cover while I went to the class (sniff), since she couldn’t make it here and I have no place to go until our driveway melts. Now if I can’t get my to haircut in downtown Seattle tomorrow, well, there’ll be hell to pay: if I can’t get to the competent hands of my stylist this week, I’ll have to lock myself up in the house until the next available appointment in mid-January.

I finished Esme. It’s a quick and easy knit, probably took me 6-8 hours total, and I recommend it. I should note that the pattern is sized for adults, and even though my son is wearing the hat, it’s for me and it fits perfectly.

Pattern: Esme, by Amy Pickard
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay in Cornflower (from my stash collection)
Needles: US 7/4.5 mm, circular (magic loop method)

Blocking with a dinner plate.

Introducing my very own model!

I threw in the picture below because over the weekend we unearthed the second hat I made 23 years ago.  It was from a kit I bought while attending the University of Wisconsin at Madison at the time. I’m told the yarn store is long gone, but I enjoyed these hat kits, because I loved the lanolin smell of the wool yarn and the earthy feel of the handspun yarn in my hands, the pattern was fun and it was the first time I made something using colors that actually worked out and I remember the delight I felt as I saw the pattern develop. I’d made this one for my dad, but I remember he said it was too warm and I guess he never wore it, so after he died some years ago and I was sorting through all of his stuff, I found it and reclaimed it. My son wore it when we went sledding this morning; he really appreciates things I’ve knitted, and I’m considering making him a cardigan.

It's not easy to get him to sit still while wearing two scratchy wool hats.


Day 4: Cabin Fever

Today marks the fourth day I have not left the confines my neighborhood. I haven’t driven anywhere due to an icy uphill drive and icy roads—nay, I haven’t been in a car in four days—and now the third round of our winter storm has hit in the form of a blizzard. Next year will mark 30 years since I first came to the Pacific Northwest and I have never seen such a storm in the Seattle metropolitan area. I have not seen weather like this since I lived in Minnesota. Crazy. Blowing and drifting. Crazy.

You know cabin fever has set in when my son and I greeted my husband with eager anticipation when he came home from work yesterday (the boss and his four-wheel drive have been taking him to and from lately), tearing the grocery bag from his hands to inspect its contents as if it was Christmas already. Luckily his office is near a supermarket and I sent him shopping before he came home.

Frost glinting in the morning sun on a frozen squash on my neighbor's fence post.

You know cabin fever has set in when the birthday party for the 3-year old a few houses down becomes more of a social hour for the parents; all of us sticking around much longer than we would otherwise. Where else could we go?

I keep myself entertained though. I think I ticked-off one of my sisters-in-law today via email when I told her I was sending two books for her 5-year old daughter instead of the iTunes gift card her mom requested (the 5-year old has her own iPod Touch). It’s okay, I told my sister-in-law that she is welcome to return the books and get what my niece wants. I only meant well, figuring that it’s more fun to actually open a gift than to open a gift card when you’re very little. And then my mom got annoyed with me because I didn’t call her to tell her we wouldn’t be accepting her open invitation for dinner at her place tonight—I fell asleep. So much for joyful family relations during the holiday season. Sigh.

Cabin fever and annoying relatives aside, I have some knitting for you.

Esme brim using Manos from my stash, how it looked this afternoon, now it's halfway done (no picture yet).

Mom's Christmas scarf, garter stitch, yarn from Italy trip, half done.

To close, hope for the future—

Morning on the snowy woodland: after today the days start getting longer again....I can't wait.

Somebody get me some chocolate…..please.

These days of cold….

We don’t get out much these days between biting cold weather, occasional icy roads, school closures and snow.  We finally got our big snow storm early this morning and we did our sledding and made a snow angel.

We finally got a Christmas tree last weekend and we’re pretty much done decorating it.  Because it’s been so cold, we opted for a pre-cut tree from a nearby tree farm rather than trek out into the field to cut it ourselves.  I know, we’re wimps.

It's so cold the cats spend a lot of time in front of the gas heater.

I used the tree decorating as a photo opp for socks that I made 3 years ago with yarn I bought on a trip to Newport, Oregon earlier that year.

Why am I showing them now?  Because I didn’t have a blog then (although I wanted one) and I rarely wear them because they don’t fit in my everyday shoes, and if they did, they’d be a little more wild that I’d like to be seen in for normal, everyday wear.  So I was wearing them and thought I’d give them some attention.  The pattern is Whitby from Nancy Bush’s Knitting on the Road.  I don’t remember much about the yarn except that it is Socks That Rock and it’s pretty thick stuff; it may be STR’s heavyweight yarn, and don’t quote me, but I think the colorway is “Blarney Stone”.

I wound a couple more balls of the Orenburg yarn for Grand Duchess and, interestingly enough, as I suspected some of the skeins partially felted when I dyed them last August.  I say partially, because the strands of mohair had partially locked together, but I was  able to gently tease them apart.  All the skeins went into the bath together and I stirred them, but I can only imagine that what happened is that some of the skeins got stirred more than others, resulting in the partial felting.  The difference can be seen when the two skeins I wound are side-by-side.

The partially felted ball is on the right, and you can see it has more of a halo from fuzzy mohair.

With the cold weather I’ve found that I’ve misplaced one of my knitted hats and I thought I had some mittens I’d made around here….but I can’t seem to find them. And then, when I was rummaging around in my closet for my hat, I misplaced the other pair of socks I’d knitted (a few years ago) that I was going to wear…and, well, I guess that means I’ll be knitting at least one new hat really fast.

I have four skeins of Manos del Uruguay in solid cornflower sitting around that I still don’t know what to do with, so I’ll use one of them to make Esme from the Winter 2008/Issue 4 edition of The Inside Loop; I searched it out through Ravelry’s pattern search (what a modern miracle that is!).  I have four skeins of Manos because I had a gift certificate for Pastimes Yarns And Sitting Room in Kent, Washington, and no sooner did I get it than the store decided to close (about four years ago), causing about 100 or so yarn devotees to rush down (we had very short notice) to stand in line for hours to use up our gift certificates and store credit along with everyone else looking for a great deal.  I bought the skeins and a few other yarns with no pattern in mind, and by the time I got there, the pickings were slim. Who knows what I’ll do with the remaining skeins, but how handy to have them hanging around so that I can make a new hat!